April 12, 2019 Contributor

Volunteering with Earthchild Project – more than just giving back.

We have been absolutely blessed to have some brilliant volunteers supporting Earthchild Project over the last few months. These volunteers have immersed themselves daily in the operating of our programmes and connecting to our earthchildren, have dedicated time over weekends to assist with events, and have offered their skills behind the scenes with fundraising, website support and content creation. But the true beauty lies in the connections that our volunteers make with our earthchildren, and their daily experiences in the schools.

Celine and Barry joined us from the UK for six magical weeks where their commitment and input was invaluable, as was their personal experience volunteering with ECP. Read what they have to say below…

“Barry and I had the chance to spend six amazing weeks volunteering with Earthchild Project, a programme that I found via social media. During these six weeks, I was assisting teaching with Noks in Sakumlandela and Yomelela, two primary schools in Khayelitsha.

It’s difficult to express in words our experience there. The kids are incredible; they are so well-behaved, they really look forward to their yoga classes, and they participate fully and with an open mind. When you teach them, they look at you with sparkling eyes and a big smile, ready to learn and play. When you ask a question, they all raise their hands saying “Miss, Miss!”, eager to respond. What an atmosphere! And that’s even without mentioning all the high-fives, hugs and thanks they give before and after the class. We teach them yoga, but we also learn so much from them.

We were so impressed to see how yoga helps them relax and release any tension they feel. Noks explained to us that some of them don’t have a quiet room at home where they can relax in safety. Their yoga room at school is a great place for them to feel secure and let go, and sometimes they fall asleep during Savasana.

Learning from Noks was a gift – she is a really wonderful teacher. She holds a class of 45 kids in the palm of her hand. The children listen to her, play with her, sing with her, trust her. They all have the opportunity to give their opinion, say how they are feeling, and learn how to be healthy in mind and body.  She is there to help these lovely souls and try to guide them along the right path, and they respond so well. We can see the love and the respect they share with each other.

Something that really caught our attention is the potential of these children. They are so smart, so polite, so curious, so happy to learn. Noks explained that they can sometimes find themselves falling behind other pupils when they go to secondary school, as they may not have the same level of skills in English and computing. That moment is critical in their development, and positive influences like yoga can help children and teenagers to follow a good path, rather than falling prey to negative influences.

We were also delighted to help out at the Teachers’ Wellness Convention mid-way through our stay. It gave us a chance to meet and work with the wider ECP team and other volunteers.

Our experience in Cape Town and especially with Earthchild Project was easily one of the best of our lives, and we are so glad that we made the decision to do it. We’ve also met some amazing new friends, including Eva, who traveled with us to Khayelitsha every day; Rob, another volunteer from Ireland; and of course Noks!

Barry and I are both looking forward to coming back, to catch up with team, see how the kids are doing… and to keep learning! ”

Thank you to Celine and Barry, and to all our volunteers who have committed so selflessly to our Project. We are honoured to have each of you as a member of the extended Earthchild Project Family.


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